Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Verbatim Theatre

In the last lecture, we discussed the concept of Verbatim theatre and had a brief look at some examples of verbatim plays. I was very interested in this type of theatre and i can see how it can be used to educate in some way, or maybe even provide support for a certain group of people. For example, the verbatim theatre piece "Cancer Tales" is based on the stories of individuals living with cancer. Instead of focusing on the medical side of things, this play focuses on the emotional side of the illness, charting the highs, and even more importantly, the lows. this play has been shown at medical conferences, with the intention of educating doctors in what their patients have, or may go through. But another function of this play is to provide support, for those suffering from cancer, and those living with loved ones affected by cancer, to show their not alone, and that others have felt what they are feeling. i think this is a remarkable feat in a play, something which was originally intended to entertain, and i will be thinking about this form of theatre when considering what it is i intend to do for my practical work.

Binge Drinking Assignment

You may get the idea from the title that the assignment involves me binge drinking in some way, but alas, this is not the case!! the idea is that we each interview someone who is related to binge drinking, e.g. a nurse, policeman, barman, SU manager etc. and then type up the transcript, to be used later in the creation of a Verbatim piece of theatre. Due to the recent publications in the press about the amount of injuries, and in one case death, linked to initiation ceremonies in university sports clubs, i have decided to interview a close friend of mine who is involved in the Basketball team at university. I already know quite a bit about their preliminary plans for the initiation ceremonies, but I'm going to keep this to myself at the moment, and wait until i have the interview transcript for you all to see and make up your own minds! I will keep you posted.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Cardboard Citizens

I saw Cardboard Citizens latest show 'The Help!' on Tuesday night at uni. I really enjoyed the experience of being at a professional forum theatre piece and I came out with the feeling that if they could create a piece of work to challenge views of homelessness, of even more importantly to educate and give hope to those who are homeless, then maybe I could do something just as inspirational with a group that i am passionate about. The show gave a sense of confidence almost, that I am capable, which in turn has given my a lot of enthusiasm for the project.
One thing that came out of a discussion with the cast after the show was that people were very aware of offending the group they want to work with and how to get around this. I have to say that when the show had finished i hit a bit of a low thinking that i may never be able to produce work like this, because i myself have never been homeless, etc. But when i started to think about the logistics of working with my chosen group (either in a care home for children or with young offenders) i realised that the only way to create something realistic and inspirational, is to research with that group, ask them what their experiences have been and use those ideas to start a piece (with their permission, of course!). Through the discussion in the lecture it also became apparent how important it is to get the subject of the story on board with the project, let them to direct and criticise you're piece, and by doing this you will be presenting the story as the subject would want it to be presented. By doing this i feel i will get across the most important thing to me in my work, truth.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Thinking about practical work

During my thought process about creating work in the community, i think it's important to remember something that came up in today's lecture. Some subject matter needs to be thought about carefully before it can be tackled. I think it would be incredibly naive of me to approach a group of, say, homeless people, and pretend i know what it's like to be homeless, when i clearly don't. In saying this however, it doesn't mean that i have to avoid working with certain groups, as coming from quite a privileged background, i wouldn't be able to work with quite a few groups, but instead i would need to think about my approach.
At the moment i am thinking about working with young offenders, or possibly young sufferers of abuse, or violence. As i haven't been in either of the situations, i cannot go into this group and lecture them on what it's like to be a young offender, instead maybe we could create work from their experiences and ideas in order to educate or inform other children their age?
It's something to think about in the process of creating work...

Overspill vs Fight Face

We read through the beginning section of Overspill today in class. i thought the idea and concept for the play was an interesting one and was fascinated by the bravery showed by the writer to produce a play about Bromley and then perform at a theatre in Bromely. i think the risk of offending people and producing unrealistic stereotypes as characters is great and was amazed by how Ali Taylor overcame this situation. The 3 main characters tell their story to the audience which makes them seem like real people which Taylor has observed, getting rid of the idea that these characters are a stereotypical view of people living in Bromley.
Fight Face however, instead of trying to get away from the idea of stereotyping characters, embraces it, from the lazy builders, to the Essex chav Sophie Woolley plays on the characters that she had observed in a Hammersmith Kebab house. Although the stereotypes in this play produced a comedic effect, they were sometimes 2 dimensional and it became difficult to identify with them This was not true of all characters, as you began to feel compassion for the kebab shop owner and also for the posh artist.
All in all i feel i would have to see the whole of Overspill to make a proper comparison. It's coming up at the Soho theatre next week, so i will keep you posted!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Fight Face

I went to see Fight Face last week at the lyric and i have to say, i didn't think that much of it. The concept was an interesting one; the comings and goings of a London kebab house with over 10 characters played by just 2 people. Unfortunately the magnitude of the project appeared to be too much for the female actress particularly, which also got me thinking, is the state of drama today that a concept is put above a well acted piece of work? I will be thinking about this when i produce my next piece of work.